Grammar Friday

Here are today’s two grammar tips (ok, spelling tips):

  • You may have heard the rule “I before E, except after C.” This spelling rule will serve you well in most instances, especially for words like perceive, conceive, retrieve, etc. However, the entire rule goes: “I before E, except after C and when sounding like A, as in neighbor or weigh.” As with almost every rule in English, there are exceptions. The words “height” and “their” come to mind.
  • There are several spelling rules that differ between American and British spelling. (In general, Canadians follow the British spelling conventions.) In each example below, the American spelling is first, and the British spelling is after the slash.
    • Most words that Americans spell ending in “-ize” are spelled with “-ise” in Britain: for example: realize/realise.
    • The British add a “u” between “o” and “r” in words such as color/colour, favor/favour (and favorite/favourite), honor/honour, etc.
    • When adding suffixes to words that end with the letter “L”, the British double the “L”: for example: canceled/cancelled, leveled/levelled. (Note this only occurs when the “L” is preceded by a single vowel; if there are two vowels, e.g. “concealed,” the “L” is not doubled.)

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